The Oldie Literary Lunches have become a venerable institution on the London literary scene since they were first launched in 1996. Held monthly at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, the lunches feature three speakers who each address the audience for ten minutes. A delicious three-course lunch with wine accompanies the talks.

To book tickets call Katherine or Jenny on 01225 42 73 11 between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday-Friday. 

Tickets cost £62


Click here to listen in on our previous lunches


Upcoming Lunches


16th June


Fay Weldon on Mischief.

Fay Weldon began writing fiction in 1966 and has never stopped. She estimates she

has written ‘100-odd’ short stories, never mind her novels. In Mischief, she has picked

21 short stories, from the funny to the wise.

Ferdinand Mount on The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money

and Marriage in India.

Writer and politician Ferdinand Mount’s previous work includes his studies of

class and power Mind the Gap and The New Few. In Tears of the Rajas, he turns

his eye on Britons in 19th-century colonial India, as viewed through the

experiences of his own ancestors, the Lows of Clatto.

Helen Lederer on Losing It

Actress and comedian Helen Lederer has been amusing audiences with her stand-up

routines since the Eighties as well as winning plaudits for more serious roles in

productions including The Vagina Monologues. Now her wit works its way onto

the page in her debut comic novel Losing It.


21st July


John Julius Norwich on Sicily

We are delighted to welcome back one of our best speakers, on one of his

favourite subjects, Sicily, which he first wrote about nearly fifty years ago

in The Normans in the South and Kingdom in the Sun. Now he is exploring

its entire history from volcanic eruptions to imperial assassinations, not

forgetting Nelson's extra-marital affairs.

Jerry White on Zeppelin Nights

White has writted eight books about London, including a trilogy exploring

the cepital during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In

Zeppelin Nights, he narrows his gaze to the impact of the First World War

on the city, the prelude to the Blitz.

Rachel Johnson on Fresh Hell

Rachel Johnson will be talking about her long-awaited sequel to Notting Hell,

the brilliant expose of the absurd antics of West London's village of the rich

and hopeless, who are also Rachel's neighbours.


26th July



 Accommodation: Old Hall Hotel www.oldhallhotelbuxton.co.uk; 

Roseleigh Guest-House www.roseleighhotel.co.uk


Prue Leith on a culinary life.

Restaurateur, founder of Leith’s Cookery School and author of a dozen cookery

books, Prue Leith is a glutton for life, as detailed in her memoir Relish.

Not content to stay in the kitchen, she has turned her hand to novel-writing and

will talk about her most recent fiction, as well as a life immersed in food.

Kate Mosse on The Taxidermist’s Daughter.

Kate Mosse – author of Labyrinth and The Winter Ghosts – makes her Oldie

literary lunch debut to tell us about The Taxidermist’s Daughter, a gothic

psychological thriller set on the flooded marshlands of the author’s native

West Sussex on the Eve of St Mark, 1912.

Jonathon Fryer on Soho in the Fifties.

As a foreign reporter, Fryer’s voice will be familiar from BBC Radio 4’s

From Our Own Correspondent. As a historian, he has published a dozen

books focusing on particularly debauched figures, including Oscar Wilde,

Dylan Thomas and the inhabitants of Soho in its hedonistic heyday of the

Fifties and Sixties.


18th August


Pam St Clement on The End of an Earring

As Pat Butcher in Eastenders, St Clement found herself playing a

prostitute, pub landlady and murder witness. In her autobiography

(named for the ostentatious jewellery worn by her character), the

actress recounts her 25-year career in one of Britain’s most avidly

watched soap operas.

Angela Huth on Colouring In

The author of Land Girls was delighted when fellow authoress, Susan

Hill, offered to publish her twelfth novel. The plot of is divulged by

each character in turn, thus revealing more abut themselves and the

events, thus proving that no two people see things the same way, and

that none of us is as we appear.


15th September


Virginia Nicholson on Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes

The great niece of Virginia Woolf, Nicholson’s histories Singled Out

and Millions Like Us depict the impact of the First and Second World

Wars on women. Perfect Wives moves into the next decade of the

Fifties, ‘a decade when marriage seemed unassailable and femininity

carried the imperative of a life force.’

Richard Davenport-Hines on Universal Man:

The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes

Davenport-Hines, authority on subjects from poet WH Auden to

the Profumo Affair, turns his eye to the twentieth century’s great

economist John Maynard Keynes. By exploring those ‘seven lives’ –

altruist, boy prodigy, official, public man, lover, connoisseur and

envoy – Davenport-Hines shows how Keynes became so influential,

and why he remains so seventy years later.

Matthew Rice on Rice’s Church Primer

Illustrator Rice is the architecture enthusiast behind the lavishly

illustrated Village Buildings of Britain and Rice’s Architectural Primer.

His latest work explains the language of church architecture, from

the restrained Norman style of William the Conqueror to the gilded

excesses of the Baroque, while his ceramic designs for wife

Emma Bridgewater can be found in kitchens across Britain.


24th September



Oliver Kamm on Accidence will Happen:

The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage

As a journalist, Oliver Kamm is used to having his grammar corrected

into incoherence. His latest grammar book provides a welcome antidote

to pedantry, proving that many so-called linguistic ‘rules’ may be

abandoned, and that it is not a crime to wantonly split an infinitive.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst on The Story of Alice:

Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland. 

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, whose previous works include the exhaustive

biography Becoming Dickens, here explores another Victorian giant of

literature, Lewis Carroll. In the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland’s

publication, Douglas-Fairhurst considers the relationship between the

controversial children’s author and his ‘dream-child’ Alice Liddell.  

Harry Mount on Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient

Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus

Several millennia after the Homeric hero undertook his journey,

Harry Mount – whose Amo, Amas Amat… and All That convinced

readers to ‘put a little Latin in your life’ – followed Odysseus’s epic

trail. His Odyssey recounts his voyage from Troy to the Hellespont,

and shows why Ancient Greece was truly the greatest civilisation.




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